Wife and I recently retired. First vacation to Aruba. March 11 - 18. Non stop flights Jet Blue from Boston. My flight left at 7:00 AM this morning. Jr Suite at The Mill. Daughter watching our dogs. Perfect. Except Monday afternoon while packing DW checked her passport and to our horror it expired four weeks ago.
Called their 800 number spoke to three different customer service reps at national passport office (open until 10:00 PM). Explained the situation about leaving Wed. AM. They said it can be on Tuesday that we would need an "overflow" appointment. Each time they put us into an automated account for the appointment which would only set up a normal appt weeks out. Tuesday AM early we drove two hours to Tip Oneil Bldg in Boston. There when they opened. Explained everything and was told they were jammed with "spring breakers" but she could get us an appointment at noon. Now we had to wait 3 1/2 hours. (Note no body was in line or waiting made us wonder where all the spring breakers were). Came back at 11:30 they and waited with about six other people all had 12:00 appt. (no spring breakers) We had all wifes docs, pictures and check in hand. Talked to rep explained our situation. He started to check everything off said it all looked OK knowing we had to leave the next morning. All of a sudden he said it could be done same day because we did not have prescheduled appointment. So it would take an extra 24 hours. This point there are six or seven other reps at their individual windows/stations. Half of them were doing nothing. I asked to speak to his manager. The manager said it could be done but they are so busy it would not be fair. We pleaded he would not bend. I asked for one favor Told him we have both worked for forty years paid our taxes and never asked the government for anything. After he said no again and with my wife crying, a fed cop had come up behind us ready to intercede, I told the manager I know it is ultimately our responsibility and added but because I am not connected to some politician, judge, bigshot etc that could have made one phone call and taken care of this in the morning...
Oh well I know we screwed up but you had to be there. At 8:30 AM when she told us to come back at noon we had no idea how the system worked. We left at 9:00 AM. No one was waiting. Where are all the spring breakers.
In this economy, it must be nice to be a government employee. You should see the size of this federal building (there is another one few blocks away even bigger ((JFK)) I wonder if any of these tens of thousand gov employees ever knew who hard it is to work in the private sector and worry about deadlines, customer satisfaction, reviews, layoffs etc.
Had to pay for first two nights at the mill and a two hundred to change flights for Orlando in May.
I KNOW it is our own fault for not checking the Passport.
SO if you are going to ARUBA soon make sure you check your passports.
I really enjoyed this forum. I spent weeks checking out all the great things to do. Was looking forward to walking the boardwalk, casinos, Iguana Joes, Sopranos Piano Bar, Salt and Pepper, and if we could get in, Madame Jennettes. I especially liked all the postings from that guy with the cute kid hanging over his shoulder.
Hope to make it next year.
Sorry for the long posting
Rich from Cape Cod